Sometimes it takes a good bit of time to lock down the identity of the sitter in a photograph. I wouldn’t be able to do it without the help of dozens of research friends and an equal number of archive websites. With that said, I was able to purchase, research and identify and post a positive identification of a recent eBay purchase! It’s not an easy endeavor, but it’s something that will be worthwhile at some point in the future.
What are we working with for an identification? The soldier has a definite first name of Russell and is cousins with a male named Forrest Martin of Watson, Illionois in 1919. Given the intro and body wording, he’s likely to be close to the recipient.
I started by researching the recipient, Forrest Martin, and found his 1900 census entry:
From here I decided to research his mother and father in search of a series of siblings to track down as aunts and uncles to Russell. An aunt or uncle would produce a cousin which should provide me with the proper identification for the 33rd Division soldier!
After over an hour of searching (tiring for sure) I was able to identify his mother’s sister as a Laura A. Humes. Laura had a son named Russell in 1897! When I clicked on his military burial record it all came together. Please keep in mind that this took hours of research!
Russell Humes, first cousin of Forrest Humes (recipient of the postcard), was in Company G of the 130th Infantry Regiment of the 33rd Division in WWI. He achieved the rank of Corporal and was wounded in action at some point during his service. His portrait photo was taken in 1919 long after his wounding. He passed away on 11-5-1957 at the age of 61.
11 thoughts on “WWI Photo: Research Uncovers 33rd Division Veteran’s Identification! 130th Infantry Regiment Wounded!”
Brennan, congrats on another successful identification, and a big hurray for Ancestry.com! Would be cool if you could find info about his Purple Heart too.
Ancestry is amazing. I don’t know how anyone would’ve been able to identify this photo ten years ago. It was a tough one!
Great find! My great grandfather, Hamilton Lansdowne Wood, was a lieutenant with the 130th Infantry and (I believe) Company G for a brief time – I’ll check his records when I get a chance. Thanks for posting!
Great find! my great grandfather, Hamilton Lansdowne Wood, was a lieutenant with the 130th (and I think possibly with Co. G for part of his time – i’ll check his record when I get a chance). Thanks for posting!
Small world! This wasn’t an easy photo to identify. It’s possible that they knew each other if Hamilton served with Company G. Thanks for stopping by – I will shoot the uniform later today.
I just bought this WWI book here in Otsego Michigan titled “The history of the 33rd division AEF published 1921 by Frederic Louis Huidekoper. I cannot find anything online other then reprints and this is the original. Any suggestions?
I will ask around, but I think I’ve seen this edition for sale in the past. If I remember correctly they often sell in the 80-110 range. I will ask other collectors if you would like a better evaluation.
Thanks for the help, that gives me a ball park range.
I just found your site and its a great asset. Thanks for all you do
I’m putting together a display of my Grandfathers items from WW1 that has been accepted for display at a county fair here in California. He was in Company “A”, 130th infantry, 33rd Division. I have the book talked about, and a smaller book with a brief history of the 33rd.
Also have a collection of the daily newspapers they were given on the ship as they returned home in May 1919. My Grandmother saved the majority of his letters and postcards he sent, and his complete uniform. I’m very proud of his service and only wish I was old enough before he passed back in 1968 to have been able to talk to him about the war. His letters tell me a little bit, but since they had to be read by a Censor, he doesn’t go into any details. He brought back a shell from St. Miheil that was pounded into trench art, a German brass matchbox cover, and a large bullet shaped paperweight from Camp Grant.
There is so much for me to learn, and your site is wonderful
Thank you for the compliments! Have you found any of his records on ancestry or fold3?
I have his enlistment and discharge papers, a small diary in which he says how for they hiked and the towns they went to, it also mentions friends of his that were killed or wounded.He also had a list of addresses for about 30 other soldiers, written in their own handwriting. I delivered many items to the local county fair, that runs a month. They might be doing a featured exhibit with it, putting the uniform on a mannequin. it will be an honor to have everything displayed,
As for Ancestry and Fold 3, i was spending way too much money on those and stopped a few years ago. I use Family Search now, and it’s free. Ancestry should be releasing much more of the archives they scanned back to the National Archives soon, as they had exclusive rights for 5 years. I went to the DC National Archives and it was fantastic searching for info there!